Tonight is Alamo Night here in San Antonio and South Texas. From Wikipedia, and offered without comment as I bite my tongue to avoid drawing parallels:
Realizing that it would be difficult for the Texians to hold the Alamo, Houston ordered Colonel James Bowie to remove the artillery from the Alamo and destroy the complex. Bowie soon discovered that the Alamo garrison lacked draft animals, making it impossible to transport the artillery. Neill was unwilling to abandon the fortress and persuaded Bowie of the location’s strategic importance. In a letter to Governor Henry Smith, Bowie argued, “Colonel Neill and myself have come to the solemn resolution that we will rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy.“ Bowie also wrote to the provisional government, asking for “men, money, rifles, and cannon powder”. Smith ordered a cavalry officer, William B. Travis, to reinforce the Alamo. Travis arrived in Bexar with 30 men on February 3. Five days later, Davy Crockett arrived.
Legend holds that at some point on March 5, Travis gathered his men and explained that an attack was likely imminent, and that the Mexican Army would prevail. He supposedly drew a line in the sand and asked those willing to die for the Texian cause to cross and stand alongside him. A bedridden Bowie requested that Crockett and several others carry his cot over the line.
At 10 pm, the Mexican artillery ceased their bombardment. As Santa Anna had planned, the exhausted Texians soon fell into the first uninterrupted sleep many had gotten since the siege began.
In the early morning hours of March 6 the Mexican army launched an assault on the Alamo. The outnumbered Texians repulsed two attacks, but were unable to fend off a third. As Mexican soldiers scaled the walls, most of the Texian soldiers retreated into the long barracks or the chapel. Several small groups who were unable to reach these points attempted to escape and were killed outside the walls by the waiting Mexican cavalry. The Mexican soldiers fought room-to-room and soon had control over the Alamo. Between five and seven Texians may have surrendered; if so, they were quickly executed on Santa Anna’s orders.
On Santa Anna’s orders, three of the survivors were sent to Gonzales to spread word of the Texian defeat. After hearing this news, Texian army commander Sam Houston ordered a retreat; this sparked the Runaway Scrape, a mass exodus of citizens and the Texas government towards the east (away from the Mexican army). News of the Alamo’s fall prompted many Texas colonists to join Houston’s army. On the afternoon of April 21 the Texian army attacked Santa Anna’s forces in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the battle many Texians shouted “Remember the Alamo!” Santa Anna was captured and forced to order his troops out of Texas, ending Mexican control of the area, which subsequently became the Republic of Texas.
A margarita will be drunk on the Riverwalk sometime today in memory of the defenders of the Alamo. Here’s to you, Colonels Travis, Bowie, and Congressman Crockett. Long may the Tennessee volunteers be remembered.